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Old February 25 2013, 06:36 PM   #394
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Re: Seth Macfarlane tapped to host this years Academy Awards!

Locutus of Bored wrote: View Post
I don't think that's a fair assessment of the film. While I agree it's more of an ensemble piece, I think Arkin gave a standout supporting performance and was nominated as a result. But all of the actors did a fine job of showing the fear and desperation and ingenuity of those involved.
I'm not sure what Arkin did that was different from what he usually does. Yes, all the performances were good but I didn't leave the theater thinking, "Wow, so and so's performance was amazing." It was well acted but not remarkably so.

Not sure what you mean by "unearned ending," though.
I'm referring to him going back to his ex-wife in the last scene. We have no vested interest in that relationship as the movie has done next to nothing with it. The film tries to sell him going home as this important point at the end of the movie but it's not important at all. It also makes the film decidedly about his character while up to then it was about the whole situation.

As far as the CIA fetish goes, while I would have preferred that they gave the Canadians the greater recognition they deserved (though they do get a large share of the praise in the film, as well), it's not like the CIA's involvement was made up out of whole cloth (they were equally responsible for the operation), and the storytelling reasons why they would play up that angle make sense. A story focusing on a spy going in to hostile territory is more dramatic (and true), and allows you to focus on a central character (Affleck's Tony Mendez) rather than the numerous people actually involved. It's not like they only omitted some of the Canadians involved; Mendez's longtime CIA exfiltration partner who went in with him and left with the group was also left out to streamline the story.
They did cut out some of the Canadians involved. A fellow called Shearman harbored half of the runaways while the ambassador had the other half.

And it seems odd to comment on a CIA fetish while praising Zero Dark Thirty, a film which implies that CIA torture of terror suspects led to actionable intelligence that resulted in the killing of bin Laden, when there's no proof of that being the case (I know you won't argue the torture point Sid, but just FYI for anyone else; I don't want to get into a torture argument in the Oscar thread, so anyone who doesn't like my comment, I'll be happy to discuss it in TNZ or Miscellaneous if you like). Don't get me wrong, it's a fantastic movie as well and I'd be fine with it winning, but it seems strange to criticize Argo's CIA focus while praising ZDT. At least in Argo it was a wholly nonviolent operation that resulted in rescuing everyone intended without any lives lost on either side, so it's worthy of praise in that respect. And there's plenty of criticism in the film of the CIA's and the US's prior involvement with propping up the Shah's brutal regime, so it's not like they skate away clean.
I saw Zero Dark Thirty as a decidedly anti-torture and anti-CIA film. Bigelow has been a vocal pacifist for a while so I'm not sure why people think the film is pro-torture. In the film they only get one piece of useable information from the torture and it turns out later on that they already had that information given to them right after 9/11 but were too lazy to look into it. There's a scene where a new intern gives the document to Maya, remarking that they'd had it since right after 9/11.
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